BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE
In the past year, publications like USA Today and U.S. News and World Report have released rankings of the cities in America with the best quality of life, and I am sad to say that Birmingham did not make either of the lists. In fact, of the 150 most populous metro areas in the country, our city typically ranks outside of the top 100, but I believe Birmingham is capable of much better.
“Quality of life” sounds like a subjective evaluation, but the truth is that it can be measured through the assessment of financial security, job satisfaction, family life, health, and safety. It is a tall order to tackle them holistically, but I believe that is the job of the Birmingham City Council and the Mayor. When we are building budgets or setting our city priorities, every decision should be made according to this question: will this improve the quality of life for the people of Birmingham? And if the answer is no, it means we must look elsewhere for answers. I am committed to bettering the quality of life for my neighbors, and I want to hear your ideas for how we can achieve that goal.
The global pandemic has shown us just how precarious the stability as our functioning economy, especially in cities. Over the past year, government strategies needed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and save lives have, unfortunately, also contributed to extremely high rates of unemployment and left people in our community hungrier and more desperate than they have been in a long time. As the vaccine becomes more widely available, city leaders must be prepared to find every way possible to not only stimulate our local economy but also to grow it in leaps and bounds.
I know the people of Birmingham want to work; they want to build a stronger and more powerful city side by side, but we cannot do that without an adequate number of jobs. And we don’t want just any jobs—we want more quality jobs that will lead to a more stable economy and one that will bring fulfillment to residents. I believe the city should be investing in the industries of the future like technology, biosciences, and sustainability. Furthermore, we must provide training in these areas for our citizens, so people with talent will want to remain in Birmingham and also be a part of building it up.
Establishing partnerships with corporations, schools, nonprofits, and other organizations to create workforce training programs for residents of District 4 is key. By utilizing fast-track skills training, we can quickly train individuals for immediate and lasting employment.
The citizens of District 4 deserve a Birmingham City Council leader who values accountability, visibility, and availability. I want to be the kind of councilwoman who you know you can reach out to—one who you know you will see around at local events and are encouraged to approach to share your questions and concerns. District 4 doesn’t currently have that kind of leadership. Too often, decision-making is happening behind closed doors and out of the eye of the public. I want our conversations about the betterment of Birmingham to happen out in the community.
I know that many of my neighbors feel ignored and neglected by leaders in our city. I myself have felt my concerns be pushed aside. That’s why I want to offer something different. I want to give you my voice, so that I can vocalize your individual concerns using a public platform.
MEANINGFUL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Although many elected officials have tried to address the challenges facing our city, I see firsthand that there is so much more work to be done. District 4 is made up of several immensely historic neighborhoods, which is why I think it is important to be thoughtful about the ways in which they are allowed to be developed. We must look forward to the future while also celebrating and memorializing the triumphs of the past.
We’re seeing property values in other parts of the city rise, and I want to see District 4 share in that success. We advocate fiercely for our neighbors and our shared success. We push back on absent property owners and slumlords to either remove long-forgotten structures or to find new and innovative ways to utilize them for community purposes. I want to see the creation of more affordable single-family homes, more green spaces, and more buildings meant for individuals to come together for mutual aid and economic growth.